Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

232

University of Miami Concert Jazz Band: Romances

J. Robert Bragonier By

Sign in to view read count
Since its inception in 1967, the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band has become one of the world’s pre-eminent educational jazz ensembles. Sixteen times Downbeat has awarded the band its DB Award. Over the past 22 years the band has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Central America, and the Middle East, and appearing with it have been many of the best-known performers in jazz, ranging alphabetically from Louis Bellson and the Brecker brothers to Bobby Watson and Kai Winding.

Featured on this recording is the world premiere of Maria Schneider’s composition “Three Romances,” which was commissioned specifically for the Concert Jazz Band. The other five selections were mastered from archived files spanning the decade of the ‘90s, and, although the rosters may have changed, the music is remarkably consistent in both musical and acoustic quality. This is a band with the fire and drive of the young, whose talents, energy, and passion have obviously been channeled by Whit Sidener with great leadership and skill.

The album opens with a Maria Schneider composition, taken at relaxed tempo but with a satisfying brass climax and a wry finale. “Gregory Is Here” is a luscious, Latin-laced Horace Silver tune. Gary Lindsay’s arrangement of Bronislaw Kaper’s “Invitation” is taken at a more rapid than usual tempo, and in 3/4 meter. Pianist Clay Perry wrote both “Divisi” and “Squiggle”: the former is in minor key, with Latin rhythms, beautiful brass ensemble, and a sultry tenor solo; the latter, in 6/8 tempo, is the most commercial of the selections, but probably the one with the most appeal for younger listeners, with its muted backbeat and its alto sax and electric guitar solos.

“Three Romances” begins with “Choro Dancado,” influenced by the kind of Brazilian music known as “choro,” an early style that affected much of Brasilian music to follow. The slower, wistful middle movement, “Pas de Deux,” is inspired by Schneider’s favorite ballerina, a breathtaking and unforgettable French danseuse; one can hear echoes of Gil Evans and Sketches of Spain in the orchestration of this movement. The segue to “Danca Ilusoria,” a pensive foxtrot, is smooth; Schneider describes the movement as “suave and very romantic.” The selection builds to a dramatic climax before drawing to a most satisfying conclusion.

This is a remarkable big band album, rich, full and satisfying. Maria Schneider is, in my view, one of the most talented and compelling young composers in jazz. “Three Romances” is a beautiful piece that unmistakably bears her mark, and it is brilliantly played, with sensitivity and feeling. That she has been able to create so distinctive a sound with these young musicians is a tribute to her skills, not only as composer, but as teacher and conductor as well.

Visit Summit Records on the web.


Track Listing: Lately; Gregory Is Here; Invitation; Divisi; Squiggle; Three Romances: Choro Dancado; Pas de Deux; Danca Ilusoria

Personnel: The University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, Whit Sidener (director) and Maria Schneider (guest conductor)

Title: Romances | Year Released: 2004

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "Crack-Up" CD/LP/Track Review Crack-Up
by Doug Collette
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties" CD/LP/Track Review The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "The Final Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 3, 2017